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James Franco designs Brad Renfro switchblade

James Franco has designed a limited edition switchblade in memory of Brad Renfro, the late actor who beat him to a lead role in 2002 movie Deuces Wild.

The 127 Hours star created the flick knife as "a metaphor for people that don't have control over their lives" following Renfro's death from an accidental heroin overdose in 2008.

Franco unveiled the $850 blade on Saturday (09Jun12) at New York City's The New Museum, where he also screened his short film Brad Renfro Forever.

In the art-house movie, tattooist Mark Mahoney uses one of the special blades to etch 'Brad' into Franco's flesh, causing him to wince in agony and beg for a break in the middle of the session.

Franco tells the New York Daily News, "I didn't tell him (Mahoney) to hold back at all... I wish he'd gone deeper (because the carving is) pretty light."

Franco was particularly moved by the tragic star's death, telling Playboy magazine last year (11), "Heath Ledger died a week after Brad, and I feel Brad has been forgotten already. They didn't even mention his death at the Oscars that year."

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